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Forums > Photography Talk > "BLURB"...anyone selling through their bookstore? Search   Reply
Photographer
Jay Strange
Posts: 127
Tampa, Florida, US


After you design and buy your book,it doesn't seem to cost anything more to put additional copies up for sale through the Blurb Bookstore.
Also doesn't appear to be any commision fees and you are allowed to set your own mark-up...
Any of you have input re: using this service?
Thanks.
Feb 25 13 05:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,205
Seattle, Washington, US


Feb 25 13 06:06 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
R Michael Walker
Posts: 11,939
Costa Mesa, California, US


I've never used the service to make a book. But I've looked when people send me info that their new book is out. USUALLY turns out to be some self published site like Blurb. I look. I've never purchased any yet.
Feb 25 13 06:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jay Strange
Posts: 127
Tampa, Florida, US


Nice work Mark,
Can you tell us if there is actually any $$ to be made using this service?
(I suspect since you've published 3 books already,maybe there is?)
Feb 25 13 07:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,205
Seattle, Washington, US


Jay Strange wrote:
Nice work Mark,
Can you tell us if there is actually any $$ to be made using this service?
(I suspect since you've published 3 books already,maybe there is?)

the money is up to you.  you have to promote, promote, promote.

Feb 25 13 10:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mask Photo
Posts: 1,371
Fremont, California, US


My wife made a book through blurb. I edited. Their typesetting software was THE WORST i've ever seen. Hopefully it's gotten better in the last few years, but if not, i pity anyone who has to add text to a blurb book.
Feb 25 13 11:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mask Photo
Posts: 1,371
Fremont, California, US


Feb 25 13 11:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Derek Ridgers
Posts: 677
London, England, United Kingdom


Jay Strange wrote:
After you design and buy your book,it doesn't seem to cost anything more to put additional copies up for sale through the Blurb Bookstore.
Also doesn't appear to be any commision fees and you are allowed to set your own mark-up...
Any of you have input re: using this service?
Thanks.

I've sold books through Blurb but there are two big problems.

The biggest being the ludicrously high prices.  For a book which would cost $20 in the shops, it's close to $50 on Blurb - and that's without any cut for oneself. 

Second, virtually the only promotion your book will ever have will be what you do yourself.  I do realise that there are bloggers (and some magazines) which support and promote self-published books but you have to locate and send them a copy and so this cuts into your profits further.

IMHO Blurb books only real work as real world books for -

(i) Wedding albums and family memory type books or

(ii) Dummies to show publishers. Of course, this can be counter productive, so you have know your market.

(iii) Loss leader type self-promotion.

Feb 26 13 04:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Derek Ridgers
Posts: 677
London, England, United Kingdom


Mark Laubenheimer wrote:
i like blurb

http://www.blurb.com/user/pajamacrush

I like the product but sadly not the company itself.  It recently took me two and a half months to get a specific question answered by their customer services.  I eventually had to resort to emailing their CEO (which worked, although the CEO did not respond).

Like a lot of companies that make a great product - cf. Apple and Nikon - they don't treat their customers very well.  Or, not in my experience.

Feb 26 13 04:43 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Derek Ridgers
Posts: 677
London, England, United Kingdom


Mask Photo wrote:
My wife made a book through blurb. I edited. Their typesetting software was THE WORST i've ever seen. Hopefully it's gotten better in the last few years, but if not, i pity anyone who has to add text to a blurb book.

It rather pains me to say it but I find their software the quickest and easiest thing going.  I reckon 95% of it an intelligent eight year old could manage.  The final two percent - stuff like minutely manipulating type (when it comes to typography I am a very, very fussy person) can be a little frustrating.

Feb 26 13 04:54 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bobby C
Posts: 898
Portland, Oregon, US


A friend had a Blurb photography book made one time. I was not impressed. The printing looked like color photocopy on glossy paper. For the price, the quality needs to be much better ( this was several years ago ).
We went on a day trip in the summer. Her book was on the dashboard for about half an hour. The book "melted" and all the pages stuck together !

The key to any sales is advertising and marketing. So no matter how good your work might be, don't think that just by publishing a book, you will make money.
And there is also a negative perception of self-published books aka vanity publishing in the "book world" to contend with.
Feb 26 13 05:07 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Derek Ridgers
Posts: 677
London, England, United Kingdom


Bobby Ctkr wrote:
And there is also a negative perception of self-published books aka vanity publishing in the "book world" to contend with.

I'll think you'll find this view is a little out of date now.  Some real world, terrestrial publishers are even working with Blurb themselves. 

And my agent used one of my Blurb books to get me a proper publishing deal - so that can happen.  But as I say in one of my comments above, you have to be a bit careful with that in case your Blurb book blinds the publisher seeing the full potential in your project.

Feb 26 13 05:52 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,205
Seattle, Washington, US


Mask Photo wrote:
My wife made a book through blurb. I edited. Their typesetting software was THE WORST i've ever seen. Hopefully it's gotten better in the last few years, but if not, i pity anyone who has to add text to a blurb book.

have you considered using indesign to create a pdf of the book? this really is the best way to do it. you have full control with indesign.  it's super easy.  all of my books were designed with indesign.

Feb 26 13 07:25 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bobby C
Posts: 898
Portland, Oregon, US


Derek Ridgers wrote:
I'll think you'll find this view is a little out of date now.  Some real world, terrestrial publishers are even working with Blurb themselves. 

And my agent used one of my Blurb books to get me a proper publishing deal - so that can happen.  But as I say in one of my comments above, you have to be a bit careful with that in case your Blurb book blinds the publisher seeing the full potential in your project.

Looking at your work, methinks you got a publishing deal based on your photographs and not because you had a Blurb book. Your publisher could have  showed your portfolio in  formats other than a Blurb book and you would have gotten published.

Feb 26 13 07:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Derek Ridgers
Posts: 677
London, England, United Kingdom


Bobby Ctkr wrote:
Looking at your work, methinks you got a publishing deal based on your photographs and not because you had a Blurb book. Your publisher could have  showed your portfolio in  formats other than a Blurb book and you would have gotten published.

Thanks.

On the other hand, one can use a Blurb book dummy for the opposite reason as well - for when one has work that won't make a good book.

I came within a few days of signing a contract with a printer to self-publish a book of celebrity and rock star photos.  Thanks mainly to the tardiness of the printer, there was a delay, during which time I showed my Blurb dummy to a publisher.  He immediately told me why it didn't work as a book.  He told me it needed to be more focussed.  I was a bit bruised but I quickly realised he was dead right.  So I withdrew from my deal with the printer.  Blurb in that case saved me about $17000.  And also saved me living with a house full of unsold books forever.

So a Blurb book can be useful in a negative as well as positive way.

Feb 28 13 01:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Anthony Altamore
Posts: 58
Chicago, Illinois, US


I made one a few years ago.  I think I went with the 8x10 floppy version.  I found the print quality to be mediocre - fine for sending prints to grandma but nothing like a professionally done art book.
Also the pricing was terrible.  You have to overcharge so much to make a profit because the production cost is so high (I'm talking small batches like it was intended for, not thousands of units).
If you want to use one of these services, I suggest pairing it with a Kickstarter campaign.  A friend of mine used it to fund his graffiti book, using the Kickstarter money to cover the cost of production and giving everyone who donated over a certain amount a copy of the book.
Feb 28 13 07:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Derek Ridgers
Posts: 677
London, England, United Kingdom


I don't want to present myself as being a Blurb evangelist, especially since I don't like the company ethics, but the printing is a lot better than in some traditionally printed books.  Quite a bit of the work I've printed in my Blurb books has also been printed in traditionally printed books* and there really isn't much to choose between them.

I had two Blurb books delivered yesterday and in both cases the blacks were a little on the greenish side.  I find with Blurb, the blacks are either a little green or a little red.  But it's not something most non photographers would ever notice.

It is true that Blurb printing is not really on a par with very high quality photo books - I don't think even Blurb would claim it was - but it certainly isn't, as one person stated here, like colour photo copies.


*Some of the images from my Blurb book 'Skinheads' recently appeared in this -

http://www.bensherman.com/50-years-of-b … sims.html/
Mar 01 13 12:37 am  Link  Quote 
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